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Paschasius Radbertus, St.


Abbot, theologian of the Eucharist; b. Soissons, c. 785; d. c. 860. He entered the Benedictine abbey of corbie under Abbot adalard the Elder (814821) whose life he was to write (Patrologia Latina, 120:150756). Though only a deacon, he was elected abbot of Corbie c. 843 but later resigned (before 853) because of opposition to his plans for reform. In 831 Paschasius wrote his treatise Concerning the Lord's Body and Blood (Patrologia Latina, 120:12671351), the first monograph ever written on the Eucharist. Revised by Paschasius in 844, it was severely criticized by ratramnus and rabanus maurus. Toward the end of his life Paschasius answered his critics in his famous letter to Frudegard (Patrologia Latina, 120:135166). In addition to commentaries on Psalms 44, Jeremiah, and Matthew (Patrologia Latina, 120:311256), he wrote works dealing with the three theological virtues (Patrologia Latina, 120:138790), the Virginal Birth (Patrologia Latina, 120:136786), the martyrdom of Rufinus and Valerius (Patrologia Latina, 120:14891508), the life of Abbot wala (Patrologia Latina, 120:15591650), and a number of poems and letters. His letter on the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin, formerly attributed to St. Jerome (Patrologia Latina, 30:122142), was often cited in Christological treatises of the Middle Ages. Paschasius is known to have attended the synods of Paris (847) and Quierzy (849), but the date of his death is uncertain.

Concerning the Eucharist, Paschasius taught that "the substance of bread and wine is changed into Christ's Body and Blood" (De Corp., 8.2). In dealing with the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist he described it as the very flesh of Mary, which had suffered on the Cross, was buried, and rose again (De Corp., 4.3 and 7.2). He held that by the omnipotence of God it is miraculously created or multiplied daily at each Consecration (De Corp., 4.1 and 12.1). His opponents rejected this doctrinal presentation as too crude and materialistic. In his letter to Frudegard, Paschasius reaffirmed his view and tried to show that it was in complete accord with the teaching of the Fathers. Modern historians of theology agree that Paschasius overstressed the identity of the historical and the Eucharistic body and that the manner in which he had recourse to legends was not commendable. Paschasius's great influence was partly due to the fact that at the end of the 11th century a number of passages copied from his work began to be circulated under the name of St. Augustine.

Feast: April 26.

Bibliography: Works. Collection of his works, ed. j. sirmond (Paris 1618), mabillon (Paris 1677), and martÈne (Paris 1733), reprinted in Patrologia Latina, ed. j. p. migne, 271 v., indexes 4 v. (Paris 187890) 120; Poems, ed. l. traube, Monumenta Germaniae Historica: Poetae (Berlin 1826) 3.1:3853; Letters, ed. e. duemmler, Monumenta Germaniae Historica: Epistolae (Berlin 1826) 6.1:133149, critical eds. a. ripberger, Der Pseudo-Hieronymus-Brief IX "Cogitis me" (Spicilegium Friburgense 9: Fribourg 1962), with bibliog. Literature. e. choisy, Paschase Radbert (Geneva 1888). d. stone, A History of the Doctrine of the Holy Eucharist, 2 v. (New York 1909) 1:216220. j. geiselmann, Die Eucharistielehre der Vorscholastik (Paderborn 1926). h. peltier, Pascase Radbert (Amiens 1938). k. vielhaber, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner, 10 v. (2d, new ed. Freiburg 195765) 8:130131. c. chazelle, "Figure, Character, and the Glorified Body in the Carolingian Eucharistic Controversy," Traditio, 47 (1992) 136. w. cole, "Theology in Paschasius Radbertus' Liturgy-Oriented Marian Works," in De Cultu Mariano Saeculis VIXI, v. 3 (Rome 1972) 395431.

[n. m. haring]

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